Swihart Drives In Three Runs To Help PawSox Edge Chiefs Tuesday
Pawtucket Red Sox Press Release
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Pawtucket Red Sox overcame a pair of early deficits and topped the Syracuse Chiefs, 5-4, on a warm Tuesday night with temperatures in the 70s at McCoy Stadium.
The PawSox (3-3) rode a three-run fifth inning and a strong performance from a trio of relievers to even the four-game series with the Chiefs (1-4).
Pawtucket center fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-4, R, RBI) and catcher Blake Swihart (2-for-3, R, HR, 3 RBI) propelled the offense, which coaxed seven walks against Syracuse pitching.
“It looked like he had better balance and looked like he managed the strike zone a bit better,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said of Swihart. “Offensively, he impacted the ball.”
Right-handed starter Hector Velazquez, who was signed by the Red Sox in February after seven seasons in the Mexican League, fanned six over 4.2 innings in his Pawtucket debut. The 28-year old allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and a pair of walks.
“The split-changeup was a good pitch for him,” Boles said. “I thought overall he pitched well. Nice job.”
Velazquez’s counterpart, Syracuse right-hander A.J. Cole, allowed four runs (all earned) on three hits and five walks in four-plus frames.
Pawtucket lefty Edgar Olmos (2-0) followed Velazquez, tossed 1.1 scoreless innings and earned the win. Righty Erik Cordier, armed with an upper-90s fastball and a tight slider, struck out five across the seventh and eighth innings. Noe Ramirez buttoned up the victory with a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
As they did in Monday’s series opener, the PawSox climbed on the scoreboard first with a solo home run in the first inning, when Swihart blasted his first long ball of the season out to the right-center field bleachers.
The Chiefs tied the game, 1-1, in the second inning when third baseman Matt Skole scored on a throwing error from Pawtucket first baseman Sam Travis. Moments later, Travis atoned for his miscue by snaring a line drive to start an unassisted double play and end the threat.
Syracuse grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third when No. 3 hitter Clint Robinson ripped an RBI single up the middle to plate speedster Rafael Bautista, who had swiped second base.
Swihart pulled the PawSox even, 2-2, in the bottom of the third when he dropped an RBI single into right field to score second baseman Jantzen Witte from second.
After Velazquez reached his pitch limit in the fifth inning, left-hander Edgar Olmos took over and surrendered a two-run, two-out single to Chiefs left fielder Brandon Snyder, who nudged Syracuse ahead 4-2.
The PawSox snatched the lead back, 5-4, in the bottom half of the fifth. After Cole issued a pair of walks, reliever Dustin Antolin allowed an RBI double to Castillo. Swihart delivered a sacrifice fly to center, and third baseman Matt Dominguez tugged an RBI single to left to score Castillo. Antolin (0-1) got tagged with the loss.
The teams continue the four-game series Wednesday at McCoy Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4:05 p.m. The PawSox send right-hander Shawn Haviland (1-0, 6.35 ERA) to the mound, while the Chiefs counter with left-hander Matt Grace (0-1, 9.00). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 3:35 p.m.
The seven-game homestand runs through Saturday. Good seats are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.